Scientists Reveals the Secret of the Funniest Joke Ever
Warning: these instructions will transform anyone into an absolute bantasaurus rex, and perhaps even into the Archbishop of Banterbury himself. Your victims will fall to the ground convulsing, wetting themselves helplessly as your jokes hit home.
Are you OK with this? If so, read on.
Discover Magazine’s Seriously Science reports a 2013 study on what really makes a punchline go ‘zing’.
Surprisingly, revealing a few of the words 1-15 minutes beforehand (ie when you’re telling a shaggy dog story) helps.
So what you want to do is set up the words you’re going to use – but not right before you hit your audience with the pay-off.
The researchers say, ‘In Experiments 1 and 2, significant nouns from the punchlines or from the beginnings of jokes were presented before a joke was rated in funniness. Pre-exposing punchline words 15 minutes and even only 1 minute before the eventual joke led to increased funniness ratings.’
The researchers also reveal the funniest joke ever (as described in a 2002 study):
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps,
“My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead”.
There is a silence, then a gun shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”